Sky Blue FC Takes Four in NWSL College Draft

Sky Blue FC made BYU defender Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall the 4th overall pick of the NWSL Draft.

Team Takes BYU Defender Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall with 4th Overall Selection

Sky Blue FC made new additions to its 2013 roster on Friday, selecting four players in the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft. The team took BYU defender Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall with its first round pick (4th overall), then adding Portland defender Kendall Johnson, Georgia goalkeeper Ashley Baker and Maryland forward Rebecca Kaplan with its picks over the next three rounds.

“The College Draft is a very important step in the roster building process,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra stated. “Based upon your needs, as well as what is available to you on the draft board, you make the best choices for your team. Today went very well for us, and we acquired some good players who will be contributing this season.”

Lisonbee-Cutshall was a MAC Hermann Trophy finalist this past fall, registering three goals and two assists despite starting on the back line for the Cougars. She also spearheaded a defensive effort that allowed a mere 13 goals all season long. In addition to being named the 2012 West Coast Conference (WCC) Player of the Year, Lisonbee-Cutshall was also selected to the NSCAA All-America First Team. For her college career, the hard-nosed defender made valuable contributions on the offensive end of the field, totaling 32 points on 13 goals and six assists over her four-year campaign.

“With the first pick, you have to be very specific,” Gabarra confirmed. “Lindsi was the top central defender, and she is one of the very few players at her position who has the physical skills, tools and character to transition to this league.”

Johnson (12th overall selection), an Oregon native, has been a mainstay in the U.S. National Team Youth System, having played for both the U-20 and U-23 sides. After being named the WCC Co-Freshman of the Year in 2009, she earned All-WCC Second Team accolades the following season as a sophomore. Injury cost Johnson her 2011 campaign, but she fully recovered in anticipation of this past fall, which became her best collegiate year on the pitch. Starting at the left back position, she posted two goals and four assists, helping the stingy Pilot defense record eight shutouts. For her efforts, Johnson was named the WCC Defender of the Year.

“Kendall is a left-sided player with national team experience, and she was one of the best left-footed players available in this draft,” Gabarra remarked. “She will provide our team with very good balance.”

Born in England, Baker (20th overall selection) had a standout career at the University of Georgia, finishing with the fourth most saves in program history after tallying 305 stops. She also stands third in her school record books with 20 career shutouts, and her 112 saves a senior were the third most in Bulldogs history. Baker became the Georgia starting goalkeeper at the beginning of her sophomore season, making 62 starts over the next three years. At the time of her selection in the NWSL Draft, she was in Spain training with the English National Team, and the 5-10 netminder has also previously suited up for the U-20 and U-23 British sides.

“Ashley solidifies us at the goalkeeper position,” Gabarra commented. “Jill (Loyden) may be gone at some point this season due to national team call-ups, and we feel that Ashley is the right player to give us the safety that we need at the position.”

A native of Oyster Bay, New York, Kaplan (28th overall selection) was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Second Team this past fall after registering 12 goals and six assists as a senior. She struck a total of 30 shots on frame for the Terps, putting away a team-leading six game-winning goals as well. For her four-year college career, she collected 20 scores and set up another 12 knocks. Her 52 career points are also good enough to place her 11th on the all-time list at Maryland.

“Becky is a good attacking player who brings East Coast roots to our team,” Gabarra said. “She is a player who is a proven goal scorer, and we are glad to have her coming to New Jersey.”

For all of the latest player and team news as Sky Blue FC prepares for the upcoming 2013 NWSL season, make sure to stay tuned to www.SkyBlueFC.com.



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